Sunday, November 28, 2004


Not often an e-mail provokes this response, but A Wood in Somerset, Iraq has just been nominated third prize in the Iraq Occupation Focus/Red Pepper Poetry Competition . Invited to read it up in London next Sunday, which I will indeed do for reasons of ego-massage, although I would always prefer to be in a wood in the country than up in the Big Smoke. Yer tiz, the poem:


Stone still in opalescent air
trees wait supportively

light splinters on new leaves.

Sun for the seventh day
blesses an English spring.

Two thousand lives away
this anticyclone fires up a storm
that drowns a nightmare world
in ochre light

The peace I feel
leaning against the powerful fist
that grips the earth, cushioned with moss
back shaped, kind as an elephant,

finds its reflection in a furious world
of men who sleep walk,
fall on their mother's skin,
give screaming fire,
act and react,
but cannot take it in

while birdsong fills my head
sharp as the sunlight
sparking on those tiny points of green.

One hammer headed woodpecker,
knowing no better and no worse
fires off his rounds.

I should be suffering
but the world is folded at my side,
its front page images of death
have left off stirring
in this gentle air.

© Richard Lawson
Thank you for reading right down to the bottom. Not everyone can do this.

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